Changing jobs can be a difficult time for anyone. Whether you’re between jobs because you’re moving, company layoffs, or even seasonal work, it’s important to take good care of your finances. The time spent between jobs without a paycheck can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t necessarily have to wreck your finances. There are several ways to help you and your family avoid financial hardship while the breadwinner is between jobs. Here are our top five tips for between-job financial management.
1) Collect Your Due Unemployment Benefit
Many people view “Collecting Unemployment” as a form of welfare. It’s not. It’s a fund created in your name paid by your payroll taxes. In other words, you already paid for unemployment so you might as well collect it if you’re eligible. You are eligible if your job ended through no fault or action of your own. Seasonal work that ends, layoffs, and other no-fault ends to a job will make it possible (and a very good idea) to collect your rightfully earned unemployment benefit checks.
Unemployment will pay you a percentage of your previous income for 28 weeks, or about 6 months.
2) Bring Down Your Lifestyle Expenses
As a working professional, it’s reasonable to build up a few lifestyle expenses. Coffee on the way to work every day, a restaurant dinner every Thursday with coworkers or clients, or a rotating professional wardrobe are all reasonable expenses when you’re on the job. But when you’re on the job hunt, these can be cut out to reduce your between-job spending.
You don’t really need a fancy latte in the morning, a cup of home-brewed java should be just fine with cream and sugar. And you don’t really need restaurant trips or those work-related subscriptions if you’re not using them for a current job. Cut out these expenses and your budget will have much more room.
3) Take a Temporary Position
Temporary work can be the ideal solution to help you tide over the time between one long-term job and the next. Especially if the hours are good and you’re still free to job-hunt on yur own time. A temporary position is one where the hiring company knows the position is only temporary. Some temp positions will look great on your resume and will bring in a paycheck during the job hunt, but they have definite end-dates so you’re not tying yourself down with an interim job. Instead, you can work for a few weeks or months while your favorite job opportunities churn through their slow hiring process.
4) Savings vs. Manageable Debt
You may be worried about ‘burning down’ your savings while covering the cost of living and job searching between jobs. This is a reasonable concern and worth some consideration. Savings can bail you out of emergencies and can tide you over in real times of hardship. They are also a buffer for unforeseen expenses.
However, many between-work professionals also consider a small amount of manageable debt. It is often more affordable in the long run to pay a small monthly debt payment on money to tide you over instead of spending directly from your savings. This decision is the most practical when you know another job is no thehorizon. For example, if you have a job lined up but it doesn’t start for a few months.
5) Watch Out for Application Fees
When on the job search, be very careful about how much you’re spending just hunting for a new position. A few job-search costs are to be expected. Interview clothes, professional development classes, and networking can all make a few expenses worthwhile. But application fees are a hidden cost that can stack up if you’re not careful.
Application fees usually cover the cost of a background check and possibly drug testing. They can be worth it for a dream job, but in today’s labor shortage, you can also likely find hundreds of potential jobs that don’t require you to pay for the privilege of applying.
6) Pick Up a Side Hustle
Finally, never forget that time is still money, even if you don’t have a corporate employer. Your time is worth something, and everyone has skills worthy of a small side-hustle. Around your job-search hours, you can do anything from petsitting to freelance programming for pay while officially between jobs. The income you earn from a side hustle can do a great deal to tide over your finances during this in-between time.
Being between jobs doesn’t have to create stress or wreck your finances. By being frugal and finding ways to turn time into profit between jobs, you can improve your job hunting prospects and your household budget during this strange temporary time in your life. For more on how to find temporary work that suits your skills, contact us today!